The civil war between media outlets over Ted Cruz and Donald Trump intensified today.

CruzDrudge

The Drudge Report’s lead headline linked to a story alleging Cruz and his father Rafael are “closet Pentecostals.” Included in the story is a video claiming Rafael Cruz is a “Dominionist” who believes the church should govern all aspects of society and claiming his son is an “anointed king.” The video also claims to show Rafael Cruz speaking in tongues.

Another link features pastor Kenneth Copeland claiming he believes “with all my heart” Ted Cruz is “called and anointed to be the next president of the United States.”

There is also a video showing Pastor Gaylon Wiley laying hands on Ted Cruz and “anointing” him.

Rafael Cruz, author of “A Time for Action: Empowering the Faithful to Reclaim America,” could not comment to WND as the Cruz campaign is preparing a statement in response. But David Barton, head of the pro-Cruz PAC “Keep the Promise” and author of “The Jefferson Lies,” defended Cruz, saying video “clips being taken out of context” amounted to an attempt to smear the candidate.

“They are trying to make something out of this,” said Barton. “Unfortunately that’s part of what goes into any campaign, the yellow journalism, the innuendo, the kind of making the noise about, ‘Look how terrible this is.'”

Barton noted it was not clearly shown whether Rafael Cruz was speaking in tongues. Even if he was, Barton suggested it doesn’t matter.

“There are at least 500 million people in the world who are Pentecostal Christians,” said Barton. “Even if he was doing this, this is a major part of the Christian community. It’s being shown in a pejorative way to make it look like something weird and strange. It’s not a big deal because of how large this group of people is.”

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Barton said Ted Cruz has spoken before all sorts of different religious groups, many of whom pray in ways outsiders might find strange.

“It’s kind of ridiculous because Ted has been prayed over by every group of people there is,” said Barton. “And are we now going to make a deal where we say, ‘Oh, he’s been prayed over by Catholics? Well, Protestants don’t like Catholics. ‘Oh, he’s been prayed over by Methodists? Well, Presbyterians don’t like Methodists.’ What are we going to do, pit every religious group straight up against one another?”

He added: “If reporters were going to be honest in their reporting, they would also look at how he’s been prayed over by every other conceivable religious group out there. Because he’s been at literally hundreds of churches. I’ve been with him even before he ran for president, and there have always been preachers that have come up and laid hands on him and prayed verbally. Everybody prayed their own style. Some of the meetings I’ve been in we’ve had 500 pastors in there and those 500 pastors, they were from every conceivable kind of faith, and they all prayed their own way.”

Barton said Drudge’s unflattering headlines on Cruz were just the latest episode in the growing contentiousness between conservative media outlets over the presidential election. Glenn Beck of the Blaze recently blasted Drudge for what he sees as coverage favoring Donald Trump. But Beck himself has been extremely critical of the Republican frontrunner – even evoking Hitler in his comparisons – and serves as a surrogate for Ted Cruz.

Barton condemned any use of “guilt by association” tactics on the Right, by anyone, and was equally critical of similar attacks that might be levied against Trump, Marco Rubio and other candidates.

“Look at Rubio’s funders; so many of them are supporters of gay marriage,” said Barton as an example. “So do we read into that that Rubio is a pusher of gay marriage? No, that’s not a fair read. You’ve got 330 million people in the United States. Are we going to look at every voter who might vote for Trump, or Rubio, or Cruz, or for Kasich and say, ‘Well, look at what this voter believes, that’s ridiculous.’

“Unless the candidate himself personally associates himself and makes that a part of what he does, the guilt by association is ridiculous. Where do you stop and at what level do you call association?”

Barton, as an expert on Thomas Jefferson, appealed to the Founding Father’s example to show how people of faith have always been welcome in government.

“One of the things that Jefferson did in his lifetime is he recruited preachers to run for office,” said Barton. “He recruited Baptist preachers, he recruited Anglican preachers. What strikes me with Jefferson in this situation is he praised how so many different denominations were able to come together. While he himself wasn’t a devout Anglican, he attended Baptist churches and Methodist churches and Presbyterian churches and other churches to join with them and link arms across the way.”

Barton suggested Cruz’s appearances at different churches are simply part of this Jeffersonian tradition of outreach.

“To try to call Cruz out and try to say he’s part of a Pentecostal group, that wouldn’t have been a problem for Jefferson,” said Barton. “He saw Christians coming together and he praised Christians coming together.

“Jefferson used to recruit preachers to run for office and Ted’s not even a preacher. He certainly didn’t have a problem with men of faith running for office.”

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